Florida’s residents are not in a healthy state

Oct 28, 2012

The following article was published in The Winter Haven News Chief on October 28, 2012: 

Florida’s Residents are not in a Healthy State

By Gordon J. Rafool


An article recently ranked the states according to how healthy they are.

It said Minnesota has held the No. 1 spot for 11 of the past 17 years.

The study showed New England states doing better than Southern states. Unfortunately, Florida was listed near the bottom.

The study looked at data compiled by United States departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education and Labor, The National Safety Council and National Association of State Budget Offices.

Factors that were looked at were adequate health care services to pregnant women, obesity, smoking status, cardiovascular death rates, insurance, job fatalities, highway deaths, high school graduation rates, children living in poverty, and the rate of preventable disease.

The thing that was interesting about this study was not so much the ranking of the states, but the changes that have occurred since the report first came out in the 1990s versus the 2006 report/

It was noted that the following positive statistics for all of the United States took place:

• Motor vehicle deaths dropped 40 percent per miles driven.

• Infectious diseases dropped 45 percent.

• Infant mortality was reduced by 35 percent.

• Smoking prevalence fell from 29.5 percent in 1990 to 20.6 percent.

• Violent crimes dropped 23 percent.

• Cardiovascular death rate went down 20 percent.

• The proportion of children under the age of 18 living in poverty declined 3 percent from 1990.

• Occupational deaths dropped 44 percent.

• Immunization coverage jumped 47 percent.

• Provisions for prenatal care improved by about 10 percent.

On the negative side:

• Prevalence of obesity rose by 110 percent. The study showed that one in four Americans are obese today versus one in 10 in 1990.

• The number of Americans without insurance increased 19 percent. The study found that among 46.6 million people in the United States without health insurance coverage, more than 9 million are children.

This is yet another study that points out the need for the nation, as a whole, and Florida, in particular, to deal with the uninsured population.

Florida must address obesity as well. There is no question that obesity is killing Americans. The best way to combat obesity is not with a magic pill, but with diet and exercise.

Dr. Gordon J. Rafool is a specialist in family practice and geriatrics at Gessler Clinic, Winter Haven.

View the original article here:  http://www.newschief.com/article/20121028/NEWS/121029928?p=all&tc=pgall